LIFE IS A BEACH
Choose Life Beach – a full-time private specialist addiction recovery clinic in Widenham, Umkomaas near Durban – opened its doors to the public and medical fraternity for the first time during a Wellness Day on October 1.
This is the newest rehabilitation centre to be added to a group of facilities owned by the respected Vernon Goss Family Trust. The first and premier clinic, the Riverview Manor Rehabilitation Centre based in the Southern Drakensberg, was joined by the Choose Life Specialist Recovery Centre in Musgrave, Durban in 2016.
As the third facility, Choose Life Beach will provide another option for recovering addicts to take a break from the stresses of everyday life and heal within the tranquil setting of a top-notch beach rehab centre.
“This exceptional coastal beach provides the ideal setting for a specialist rehab centre with a difference which focuses on addictive, substance-related and co-occurring disorders. As individuals prepare for change, one has to be grounded in a facility that not only provides the tools for change but also the best form of meditative therapy,” says CEO and founder, Vernon Goss.
Unlike the far smaller Choose Life Centre in central Durban, Choose Life Beach will accommodate both male and female patients. It will start out with 45 beds and is expected to welcome its first patients on October 2.
Jared Elliot, national marketing manager at Choose Life, says they will focus specifically on those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, offering a holistic 21-day treatment programme that is overseen by a professional team that includes a social worker, psychologist and addiction counsellor.
He says that the centre, which was purchased late last year and licensed in March this year, has been expertly refurbished to ensure the comfort and relaxation of patients.
He adds that one of the unique characteristics of the programme offered at Choose Life Beach is reformation. “That means getting and providing tools for people who are down and out in life. Lots of them are at their wit’s end and have either lost their jobs due to addiction or find themselves at a point where they want to leave their jobs because they feel that they are impacting their lives negatively.”
According to Eliot, the reformation side of the programme not only provides skills such as gardening and growing vegetables, first aid and health and safety training but is implemented with the Department of Labour which assists with job placement of patients should this be required. These also assist with creating self-sufficiency.
“So, it’s a rehab with a difference. We are not just reaching out to those who are lost, but also giving them something sound so that they can go back with opportunities and hope.”
The official opening – in the form of a wellness day – was two-pronged. Doctors and medical specialists, who provide many referrals to Choose Life, were shown through the facility so that they have a clear idea of where they will be sending their patients and the services provided. They were also able to network with their peers.
The general public – which included potential patients and their families – were treated to a mixture of entertainment and educational activities which focused on holistic health.
This, says Elliot, covers mental and physical health which are closely intertwined as well as financial health and will include stands manned by advisors from medical aids and First National Bank.
“Because I am a personal trainer, I believe in both mental and physical health as part of holistic treatment. Shay Rees – Davies a yoga instructor who works with another rehabilitation centre along the South Coast has joined our team. She has structured her classes in a therapeutic way and has a lot of experience in dealing with trauma. It will be good to include her as she is part of our programme and we can show the public just what goes on behind closed doors,” he says.
Virgin Active was also on hand on Sunday, October 1, showcasing dance based fitness classes which have also become a popular form of therapy.
“We had three different medical aids attending to give people a chance to look at what we have and get information about medical aid coverage. A work-life balance doesn’t exist these days. When a company throws a wellness day, people often have no more than minutes to enquire which is not enough. You need to really dig into everything and ask the right questions. Because the event was on a Sunday, people had a chance to come outside of work to enquire and get everything off their chests,” Elliot explains.
He adds that the general public also benefitted from mindfulness games that got them thinking properly. “We made sure that those who weren’t signing up for treatment weren’t left standing around but were engaged in different activities. Some even realised that maybe their lives aren’t so hunky dory and that they do have some underlying issues that they may need to be deal with,” he concludes.\